Thoroughbred racing and breeding are essentially a rich man?s game, and regular injections of new money are needed to keep the wheels of this most speculative of industries turning. With the number of millionaires in the world now standing at 8.3 million worldwide and rising, according to a recent report by Merrill Lynch, ?new boys? from China, India and Brazil are expected to join the big names from the Middle East and Russia as major players in Britain?s country-property market. Most millionaires enjoy a flutter, so the simultaneous sale of three immaculate equestrian estates may tempt one or two to put a toe in the racing waters.
Having quickly found a buyer for Plantation Stud in Newmarket, Bidwells (01223 559352) are joint agents with Savills (020?7499 8644) in the sale of the pristine, 212-acre Cliveden Stud (Fig 2) at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire, at a guide price of £6 million. Created by the second Viscount Astor next to his Cliveden country seat in 1906, the stud?owned by the Freedman family since 1966?has produced a steady stream of Classic winners over the years.
The property, too, is a classic of its kind, having an imposing brick-built main house with four reception rooms, five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a staff flat and an indoor pool, beautifully land-scaped gardens and grounds, four stable yards, five cottages, outbuildings and training facilities, the whole surrounded by railed and hedged stud paddocks and belts of woodland.
The focal point of the 278-acre Conk-well Grange estate and stud at Limpley Stoke on the Wiltshire/Somerset border is undoubtedly the grand, Grade II-listed, Edwardian country house designed by the architect Sir Guy Dawber and built in 1907. Conkwell Grange has 10,032sq ft of accommodation on three floors, including five reception rooms, 10 bedrooms and five bathrooms, and wonderful views towards the Avon Valley and Salisbury Plain. Two lodge cottages, six further cottages and four staff flats provide generous secondary accommodation, with 128 acres of managed woodland to the west of the estate creating shelter and privacy for the main house. All of which takes nothing away from the estate?s state-of-the-art, 100-box equestrian complex, used until recently for the breeding and training of Arab racehorses. Knight Frank (020?7629 8171) quote a guide price ?in excess of £8m? for Conkwell Grange as a whole.
High on the Berkshire Downs, four miles from the racing town of Lambourn, Grade II-listed Baydon House with 44.73 acres of gardens, grounds and paddocks, is an equestrian estate with a difference. Originally built in 1744, the charming Grade II-listed house was completely renovated in the early 1990s and extended in 1997 by the present owners, Mr and Mrs Stephen Crown, who added the indoor swimming pool, the stud buildings?and the FrogsGalore museum, home to Mrs Crown?s collection of 14,500 (replica) frogs.
Following the owners? decision to move back to London, Baydon House is for sale through Strutt & Parker (01635 521707) and Windsor Clive International (01672 521155) at a guide price of £4.75m. The rambling main house has six reception rooms, two large conservatories, an orangery, a palatial master suite, six further bedrooms and five further bathrooms. The stud complex, used to board high-class broodmares, includes 17 boxes, an outdoor school, a turn-out barn, eight post-and-rail paddocks, and three pretty period cottages. Add a games room, a tennis court, some fine, leggy Thoroughbreds, and even the most fidgety millionaires will find some amusement.